HC Deb 22 May 1974 vol 874 cc513-44

Question again proposed, That the amendment be made: —

Mr. Stott

I shall seek to conclude my remarks within two minutes. There are thousands of people in this country who through their own personal sacrifice render loyal service to local and national government. The stigma that is now being attached to the profession of politician, a profession to which I shall dedicate my life, must be eradicated as soon as possible. We must show the general public that we are men of principle, honour and dignity. This must be done if the general public are to have any confidence in us whatever. I shall go into the Lobby tonight to vote for a compulsory register of Members' interests because I believe that that is the right and proper thing to do.

10.2 p.m.

Mr. Ivan Lawrence (Burton)

The hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson) said that there was a trend on the Conservative benches to be hesitant about the Government's motion, and the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Stott) said that we had something to hide. I wish to draw to the House's attention a letter which my Labour opponent in the General Election wrote to the local newspaper. He said: Although the local activities of Mr. Ivan Lawrence are well-publicised"— that is quite true—— I feel that your readers should know more about his parliamentary and private activities. Despite becoming a Member of Parliament, Mr. Lawrence has continued to practise as a lawyer and in last Friday's Birmingham Mail is reported as having 'a small unearned income from property'. As yet Mr. Lawrence has only spoken once in the House of Commons. And the contents of his speech are alarming. I shall not bore the House with his criticisms of my speech, but he went on to say that I did not say a word about housing, transport, or the housewives' inflated shopping bills. Surely those are inappropriate subjects to mention in a debate on education. That perhaps indicates the standard of that correspondent's judgment. I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs employs that gentleman in his office as a full-time politician.

The point of this story is that that person thought it necessary to write a letter to the local newspaper as though I were playing some sly trick on the electors of Burton and seeking to mislead them in a sinister way. I must inform the House that the electors of Burton knew that I was a barrister, because I disclosed that fact to them. The truth is that they preferred me to the other man who worked as a full-time politician. Who are we to say that those electors were wrong?

This is why we are hesitant on this subject. If supposedly serious-minded politicians think that there is mileage to be gained from a slight innuendo of this kind, we are a little frightened that, if people have a lot more to disclose, others may read what is written in the local newspapers and say "That man is not worthy of our electing him to Parliament to represent us." That is why we are hesitant, and until we can discount the fact that people like my opponent will write letters of that kind, we shall continue to be hesitant.

I listened with admiration to the speech of the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Mr. Walden). It was brilliant. I have heard him speak many times before, but in my view his speech today was the best that I have heard him deliver. I take my inspiration from him. He said that we had been obliged by public opinion to make disclosure, however regrettable that might be. I accept that. In my view we should make disclosure. We should make it in an unafraid, unabashed and unashamed way and rise above the petty, sly, callow innuendo which people who write letters of the kind that I have referred to perpetrate in our constituencies.

10.6 p.m.

Mr. Phillip Whitehead (Derby, North)

I am not reduced to reading my letters to the Burton Mail into the record of this House, and for that reason I will not take up the argument of the hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence). He can develop that argument at the hustings which, for him, will result in an unsatisfactory conclusion in the near future.

I wish to say a few words about each of the three main propositions essentially debated today. Should we have outside interests? If so, how should they be registered? In what form should the register come about?

We cannot legislate for a full-time Parliament, which is what I wish to see, without willing the means as well as the end. Until we have the means to will the end in terms of proper assistance both in our constituencies and in this Chamber, in addition to all the other requirements of the full-time professional in politics, we are bound to have outside interests.

My curiosity was aroused when I heard the right hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior) say that we needed to have people with outside interests suitably replenished and financially refreshed to keep us in touch with the affairs of the world. We do not want people coming to this House having done nothing in the world outside. We do not say that people should come here as callow apprentice politicians and nothing else. A man is listened to if he has outside interests backing what he says. But it is not true to suggest that he will be listened to further only if those interests are replenished financially and in other ways regularly from then on.

Some hon. Members have been professional soldiers, and we listen to them with interest. But no one would say that they should remain in the Regular Army for their contributions on defence to be listened to attentively.

Mr. John Mendelson

Some of them should go on refresher courses.

Rear-Admiral Morgan-Giles (Winchester)

Will the hon. Member for Derby, North (Mr. Whitehead) take it from me that the longer one is outside the Service, the more one sees matters through a telescope backwards?

Mr. Whitehead

Many of us believe that the hon. and gallant Member for Winchester (Rear-Admiral Morgan- Giles) was born with the wrong end of a telescope screwed into his eye.

Although I believe that we should have a full-time House of Commons, I recognise that we do not have one. In his eloquent speech, my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Mr. Walden) said that we listened especially to those hon. Members who were able quite properly to represent other interests. I say only to my hon. Friend that if we heard more contributions from him of the calibre of that which he made today, perhaps even as a full-time Member, this place would gain. I say that to him in a spirit of friendship. In some ways he has given to the bookmakers what he should have saved for mankind. We ought to hear more of his contributions in this House.

Mr. Walden

In an equal spirit of friendship, I might point out to my hon. Friend that whatever I gave to the bookmakers saved mankind in this country about £20 million of the taxpayers' money.

Mr. Whitehead

The point usually at issue is what the bookmakers gave my hon. Friend.

We cannot make this place a city of glass. It is not like a secular monastery in which all of us pry out every single interest. No service has been done to the debate by those hon. Members who have suggested that here we have a tiny minority of whiter than white Members and a large corruptible majority. That is not the situation at all. We have here an overwhelming majority of Members who are not in any circumstances corruptible. We have perhaps a few who should, shall I say, be saved from temptation. That salvation can come only from a compulsory register. The case has been well put on both sides, and this is not a party matter or an argument which can be brought down to petty envy on one side and an amateur spirit or something of the sort on the other. It is a question whether we can get by with anything other than a compulsory register of interests.

I say in a spirit of friendliness to the Father of the House, my right hon. Friend the Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss), that when I earlier referred to the report of the Select Committee which he chaired as having been supine, I did not in any way transfer that epithet to him and say that he was supine. I have the highest regard for him, but I was disappointed in the report of that Select Committee. I was the producer of the television programme which made allegations about a public relations firm in 1968 which led to the Select Committee being set up. It is no good saying that hon. Members always use their own judgment and declare interests in a perfectly proper way. All too often in the past they have not done so.

My experience at that time when I was, so to speak, on the other side of the fence trying to find out the facts about the public relations firm—which was later censured by the Institute of Public Relations—was that I found that the hon. Member concerned here had done nothing wrong. He had not misrepresented anything nor had he represented an interest in the House, but what was involved was what was being said about him in reports to a foreign Government by that public relations firm. It was a question whether that hon. Member, or any other hon. Member, would have taken on that kind of retainer if we had had a public register. I believe that he would not have done so, nor would any other hon. Member in the same position. That provides a classic reason for needing a public register, not a simple declaration in a debate.

It is not a simple matter of hon. Members rising to intervene in debates or a matter of privileged correspondence between hon. Members and Ministers of the Crown. It is a question of what happens to hon. Members who, because they are Members of the House and their constituents have elected them as Members of Parliament, are able to take on other jobs and to become representatives of other causes, not in Parliament, but outside in the country or perhaps even abroad.

These facts can be known to constituents and to the public at large only if we have a compulsory and public register of Members' interests. Such a register should contain not merely, as The Times argued today, retainers and matters of that kind, but many other things which arise, such as the trips which a Member has made, hospitality which he has enjoyed and other similar matters. These obviously create difficulties, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Vauxhall suggested, but I say to him or to whoever chairs the Select Committee, which I hope will be set up under Motion No. 3, what Winston Churchill said to those charged with the responsibility of inventing Mulbery Harbour, "Pray, do not argue for the difficulties. The difficulties argue for themselves."

We all realise that there will be difficulties in matters such as whether an hon. Member made a trip to Patagonia East or Patagonia West and how this is to be determined and described. That is for the Select Committee, given proper terms of reference, to decide. I believe that it will be able to do so.

We are not wanting to turn political life or the life of the House of Commons into a city of glass, but we are saying that it is the most precious possession of any of us to be Members of Parliament and Members of the House of Commons. I can think of no other claim to fame that most of us would wish. One sees this with ex-Members seeking to get back here. They feel it more strongly than those of us who are here at the moment. Our privilege of access to the public by virtue of being Members of Parliament, because of those letters after our names, should be matched by their access to our activities and our income, so that they can see that the privilege that they have accorded to us is not being abused.

10.15 p.m.

Mr. Ian Lloyd (Havant and Waterloo)

If ever the House needed an illustration of one of the ways in which a compulsory register would not work it was provided for me this evening by the intervention of the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott), who chose to imply that I had not disclosed an interest on a particular occasion. The facts are important because they illustrate my argument.

On every occasion, in the House as a House, in Committee, in Select Committee and on every other relevant occasion, I have always declared my interest. But there are two occasions on which it is not possible for a Member to declare his interests without seriously taking up the time of the House. One is at Question Time. Few hon. Members at Question Time declare interests. The other is when they put motions on the Order Paper.

I put a motion on the Order Paper about the decision of the House to appoint a Select Committee to inquire into wages paid in South Africa. It is not normally conventional—I do not think it has ever been done—for an hon. Member to declare his interest before putting a motion down. That is the only occasion. But the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East knows very well exactly what my interests are, the House knows what they are, and had there been a public register, it would not have made one damn of difference.

Having disposed of that—[An HON. MEMBER: "Ask him to withdraw."]—It is not worth asking the hon. Member to withdraw. Having disposed of that point, I should like to turn to the more essential matters of this debate.

For most of us, this has been a fascinating and interesting debate, well above the average of the usual debates here. I pay my personal tribute to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Mr. Walden) for his contribution, which was in the highest and best traditions of the House of Commons. Although I disagreed with some of his analysis and many of his conclusions, it is contributions of that kind which make debates like this what they should be—contributions to our national and parliamentary life.

So far as declarations of interest are concerned, let me make mine clear. I have long had a connection with a shipping group and with the computer industry. That has existed ever since I came to the House and, in substance and virtually in detail, it has not changed. I repeat it this evening. But the details have no relevance to the debate. The fact that I have such an interest is what is relevant.

The Father of the House, the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss), made an interesting speech in which he illustrated an important difference between the philosophy, if I may put it that way, of the report of the Committee of which he was chairman and the philosophy which underlines these motions. We are all referred to in this House as "honourable" Members and "right hon." Members. The philosophy of the right hon. Gentleman's Committee was that those terms meant exactly what they said. The philosophy of the motion is that, in certain circumstances, under certain conditions, at certain times, hon. and right hon. Members are not honourable and right hon. Members.

To make a concession to this type of view, this type of opinion, is not to advance, as the hon. Member for Lady-wood suggested, the interests of the authority of Members as against the interests of what he so tellingly described as the "political primitives". I do not believe that that necessarily is so.

The motion contains the phrase "indirect interests". Many hon. Members —some on both sides of the House; after all, this is a cross-party matter—are directors of investment trusts. Investment trusts normally have investments in hundreds, if not thousands, of companies. Such a director has an indirect interest in each one of those companies. This would normally, in the case of the average investment trust, cover virtually the whole industrial life of this country. Is such a Member to declare his interest generally and in detail on every occasion when the general industrial life of Britain is under debate here? That is not possible or practical. That is one of the reasons why I cannot support the motion.

The other question, however, is how far back we should go. Motion No. 1 suggests that we should go backwards virtually indefinitely. This not only tests the memory of all hon. Members, but it puts us at times in a ludicrous situation in which we have to disclose interests which we severed many years ago and which have no relevance to the matter under debate. Therefore, I say that registration is not an effective panacea. I do not believe that it will achieve the purpose which some hon. Members think it will achieve.

A question of some importance is that, having registered our interests in this way, do those who believe that this is the be all and end all of the procedure in this respect imply that, from that point on, the gloves can be taken off and the interest can be argued for without, as it were, any let or hindrance? That would be, in some circumstances, a dangerous licence to conclude that Members enjoyed as a result of the motion. A vested interest in some circumstances could then become blatant. That is not something which the House would desire.

No, I do not believe that there is a substitute for honour. Are we not in danger of assuming that in this, as in other spheres, the treatment of symptoms —after all, we are discussing the treatment of symptoms—is an adequate substitute for the treatment of causes? Most hon. Members who have spoken in the debate have at least suggested or implied in their analyses the question whether that is in the interests of Parliament. The hon. Member for Tottenham (Mr. Atkinson) asked whether by doing this we would assist Parliament to regain its credibility.

Many of us have watched and studied with great interest the position of Parliament and the country over the past few years. If our credibility is impaired— some suggest and argue seriously that it is—I should have thought that serious analysts would not argue that the regaining of that credibility to parliamentary democracy turned on the declaration of Members' interests in a register when 95 per cent. of their interests are probably so declared already in various publications. So that argument also falls to the ground.

The hon. Member for Ladywood, in his very interesting analysis, suggested that he would justify this on the ground that guilt in any particular case would always be personal. I thought that that was a particularly interesting argument. I am not quite sure whether the logic of events or of his argument can carry him through to that conclusion. If events of this kind take place, the guilt always tends to rub off, however complete, effective and thorough the procedure which has been applied. For that reason, too, I reject that argument.

The solution of the hon. Member for Ladywood was, in some senses, implied in the phrase that he used, "once all the facts are known." That was a very interesting remark. It suggested to me the question: can we ever attain this ideal? This is, as it were, an ideal prophylactic state of total inoculation against the cynical, deliberate misrepresentation of the activities, ideas, purposes and achievement of Members of Parliament, or members of the wider authority to which the hon. Gentleman referred.

Therefore, must we bow down to the demands of the political primitives? My answer is that we must not.

10.24 p.m.

Sir Michael Havers (Wimbledon)

1 suspect that many right hon. and hon. Members felt not as confident as the Leader of the House did when, opening the debate, he said that outside interests are not relevant. In fact, he was absolutely right. This is not a debate about outside interests, though they have been referred to in practically every speech. I believe that the debate is about what should be done to protect Members from imputations arising from alleged concealment of significant financial or other interests. That is really what the debate is about.

When one is considering that, one must consider it in relation to a code or register or form of declaration which should not discourage or preclude acceptance by Members of outside employment or business interests or, equally important, infringe a reasonable degree of personal privacy in financial matters. In fact, as we know, this question of outside interests came up time after time.

When one is looking to see what either the declaration or register, if accepted, should include one finds, as was reported by the Select Committee in 1969, a total failure ever to achieve any suitable definition: employment—yes; fees—yes; part-time fees, once and for all fees— one does not know; shareholdings— maybe; directorships—obviously; but, as was pointed out, some shareholdings may be much more important than a small directorship; trusts—beneficiaries of trusts or trustees? Rents; land; union sponsorship, whether it is direct to the Member or whether it is a contribution, either in assistance for secretarial work, or in rent, office or directly to the Member's association; consultants. Then one gets to the problem of unpaid membership of boards—hospital boards and the rest. If one has that, one wonders whether there is any type of interest which must not thereafter be declared.

Those are the problems considered by the Select Committee in 1969, after 11 meetings, covering a period from May until the report was presented in December, having heard 11 or 12 witnesses, having considered a large number of written applications and having presented to the House, if I may say so in the presence of the Father of the House who was the chairman, a carefully argued and obviously well-thought-out report. The committee's conclusion at the end of that time was that the content of a register was the point at which the problems and perhaps insuperable difficulties arise.

In paragraph 78 of the report the committee said: For all these reasons Your Committee are unable to recommend any form of register of Members' private interests. In so doing they have not relied on legalistic or technical objections—though it would be possible to list even more than were given in evidence. Their objections are ones of principle. Witnesses favouring a register agreed that there are bound to be loopholes in every scheme and evasions in the spirit and in the letter, but contended that this is no excuse for not tackling the problem. Your Committee believe that the real choice is either to establish a cumbrous inquisitional machinery which is likely to be evaded by the few Members it is designed to enmesh or to improve and extend the traditional practices of the House. That was after careful consideration by a very distinguished committee presided over by the present Father of the House

Our objection—and this is why the amendment to the third motion is on the Order Paper—is that this House, after something like 6½ to seven hours debate, without having had the opportunity of considering either written representations or evidence, is prepared to throw overboard completely the recommendations of that committee, to disregard the objections which it raised and to say that, in spite of all that, this House today is going to require that in future there shall be a compulsory register. We think this is wrong. We think that the Select Committee that is to be set up should have an opportunity to consider all the alternatives—that is the voluntary register as well as the compulsory one—and to set up by Motion No. 2—

Mr. English

"We"? To whom is the hon. and learned Gentleman referring?

Sir M. Havers

I mean the House— those who have supported me in signing this amendment. We believe—it may be that there are some on the benches behind me who agree with me, and some hon. Members opposite—that this should be done by the committee and that the report should then come to this House to be considered. But one should not hamstring that committee and deny it the opportunity of considering or reporting to the House whether it should in these circumstances be a voluntary register instead of a compulsory one. The committee must be given this discretion.

I therefore invite the House to examine the purposes of the amendments. Our first amendment would make very little difference to the motion put down by the Government, but that small difference is an important one. We are seeking to maintain that an hon. Member should be under an obligation to exercise his judgment as to what he should declare. We consider that it is right and in accordance with the honour and integrity of Parliament that that obligation should remain upon an hon. Member. The only way that can be emphasised is to make the amendment the Opposition have put down.

The second and third motions relate not only to the register but to the declaration, and I hope the Leader of the House will forgive me if I say that he was not completely accurate in what he said. The third motion to set up a Select Committee to deal with the compulsory register also gives that committee the duty to consider what interests should be declared when an hon. Member makes a declaration. The amendment seeks to exclude the reference to declarations, and relates solely to the setting up of the Committee to consider whether the register should be compulsory or voluntary. It does not invite the Select Committee to deal with the declarations in any way.

It is worth remembering, in order that there can be no charge that this is a delaying tactic, that even if the second motion is passed to set up a compulsory register, it cannot come into effect until the Select Committee reports. The motion says "as shall be required", but there is nothing before the House to define that phrase, and clearly the purpose of the third motion is to enable the House to be advised by the Select Committee. It will then have to decide again what should be required in that compulsory register. No time will therefore be lost by not agreeing to the second motion. I go further and say that the House should not be stampeded by what appears to be a sudden rush of outside pressure into putting a proposal into effect without having heard the advice of the Select Committee.

Mr. Bruce Douglas-Mann (Mitcham and Morden)

As a former Solicitor-General will the hon. and learned Member explain why it is desirable for the test to be subjective and not objective? Is it not a basic principle of the law that there should be an objective test and not one which is merely applied by the individual concerned?

Sir M. Havers

It should be a subjective test because we are still described as honourable Members. This is an obligation that we can accept and discharge honourably.

The amendment to the third motion would comply with the House voting down the second motion, but it is important to remember that the committee may have to consider the question of confidentiality. When the Select Committee met in 1969 the then Leader of the House raised in Questions 159, 164 and 165 the subject of the American system, which provides for a degree of confidentiality. The matter of confidentiality will become important when the Select Committee reports as to how wide the declaration of interests should be. But I should not like the House to feel that if there is to be a recommendation of very wide disclosure, which might include one's close relatives, it should not be considered by the Committee.

I found the debate extremely interesting and exhilarating. There were a number of notable and distinguished contributions. I join many other hon. Members in congratulating the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Mr. Walden) on his spirited and forceful speech, following the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Costain), who was not only very witty but who destroyed a number of myths.

In a debate in which so many hon. Members spoke, I found it interesting that very few hon. Members said that they were against a Member having outside interests. In his valuable contribution, the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss) emphasised, as I have, that it is ridiculous to have a compulsory register before we know what is to go in it. That, coming from the Chairman of the Select Committee, lends weight to, and is one of the reasons for, the amendment.

What is the public demand for the register? We hear of grave public unrest across the country. I have not had a single letter or telephone call from anyone in my constituency on the matter. Our decisions have first to reflect such anxiety as there may be in the country. I have a feeling that it is much more paper talk than reality.

We have the duty to remember that hon. Members do not as a class behave corruptly, and do not do so on many occasions. The Library has done a survey for the period from August 1945 to March this year showing that the total population of Members was about 1,711 during the whole of that time. Two Members were expelled from the House during the period. One was found guilty of forgery and the other was expelled for gross contempt in 1947. The Privileges Committee considered the matter of pressure on a Member by a trade union, and resolved in July 1947 that it was inconsistent with the duty of a Member to enter into contractual agreements which limited his complete independence and freedom of action in Parliament. In 1947 another Member was reprimanded for dishonourable conduct in accepting payments from a newspaper. There was also a question of a Chairman of Ways and Means who was a practising solicitor dealing with Members.

That is all there has been from August 1945 to March 1974—a period one year short of 30 years. Therefore, let us have no more nonsense that we are living in a hot bed of corruption. Corruption, if it really exists, is much more likely to exist in local councils and among City editors and those in the media who can influence public opinion. They are much more vulnerable to outside influence than we are.

We must maintain the honour and integrity of the House. We must not be stampeded by what I suspect is not a real public feeling. Accordingly, I invite those who feel that way to support our amendments.

10.40 p.m.

The Attorney-General (Mr. S. C. Silkin)

Rather over five years ago hon. Members were concerned—and not for the first or last time—with doubts that had arisen about the reputation of the House. It was then thought, because some hon. Members had a paid connection with outside interests, and particularly foreign Governments, that it appeared to the public that their conduct was affected in the House. A Select Committee was established under the chairmanship of my right hon. Friend the Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss), the Father of the House.

That committee recognised the apprehension that existed but took the view that such abuse as existed was of a marginal character. None the less, because it recognised that apprehension existed and, because it believed that the mere possibility of abuse might create mutual suspicion among hon. Members and might lower Parliament's reputation outside, it made the recommendation which four and a half years later appears as Motion No. 1.

The committee, with its great experience, felt that that recommendation was sufficient four and a half years ago. It is possible that if it had been acted upon it would have been sufficient, but I am inclined to doubt whether that would have been so. However, the committee's decision was not acted upon, and today we face a graver situation.

We are now concerned with the smoke of suspicion which surrounds the fire of real or imaginary corruption. It is a grave suspicion which we face not because we are more corrupt or because more of us are corrupt than we were thought to be five years ago but because corruption spreads an odour which attaches to the guilty and the innocent alike. The measures that are required today—not to stamp out corruption but to preserve and to enhance the reputation of Parliament, which is an essential part of democracy —are graver than were thought to be needed four and a half years ago. I say to my right hon. Friend the Member for Vauxhall, for whom I have the greatest respect, that he may well have been right then, and that those of us who support these motions may none the less be right now.

The hon. and learned Member for Wimbledon (Sir M. Havers) asks, "What is the problem?" He has had no letters. He has received no complaint. But we are entitled to ask why his right hon. Friends have tabled an amendment which recognises the need for a Select Committee to consider the sort of restrictions which should be placed upon a register, thereby impliedly accepting the need for some form of register. They must come clean. Either they say that it is necessary or they say it is not. They cannot adopt a half-way stance.

The debate, in the same way as did the Strauss Committee, has dealt partly with the connected but not directly relevant matter of whether hon. Members should be full- or part-time Members. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton) that that is far from being an easy question. I resent the way in which the right hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior) dismissed in— and I use his words—"A rough way" a question which outlined what many right hon. and hon. Members regard as a genuine dilemma. It is a dilemma that will grow more and more as more right hon. and hon. Members desire to take a fuller part in the work of the House.

I have rid myself of some of the preconceived ideas with which I came to the House nearly 10 years ago. I have always thought that hon. Members fall essentially into three categories—namely, those who do a full-time job here, those who do a part-time job here and a part-time job outside and those who do a full-time job here and a part-time job outside. I like to feel that until I became a Minister at the beginning of this Government I was in the third class. I may be right, I may be wrong, but, whether I am right or wrong, it is a genuine class and it should not be attacked as if its occupants acted in a discreditable way.

I return to the reason for the motions. I have missed only two speakers in the debate, and during the time I have listened only one hon. Member has suggested that we need do nothing. It is, therefore, not an unreasonable assumption for even a lawyer to make that most Members think that we should do something. The question is: "What?".

The answer to that question is one that we must be clear about. The hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Stanbrook), with whom I sometimes agree, described what we were seeking to cure as "a mischief". The mischief is not that this place is rife with corruption. I agree with the powerful speech made by my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Mr. Walden) in which he said that a register, voluntary or compulsory, will not prevent the corrupt from acting corruptly, but I also agree with him that much that is described as corruption and much that is described as abuse of the decencies of the House is neither corruption nor abuse.

I do not say that a Marconi is impossible here today, although I believe that a Watergate is. The essential point is that we all believe that right hon. and hon. Members are not corrupt.

Sir John Rodgers (Sevenoaks)

The right hon. and learned Gentleman owes it to the House to explain in more detail exactly what he meant when he said that a Watergate is possible.

The Attorney-General

Either the hon. Member misheard me or I put in a negative which should not have been there. What I said was that I do not say that a Marconi is impossible but I believe that a Watergate is—impossible. I think I said it correctly, but what on earth does it matter if I did not? The essential point is that we all believe that right hon. and hon. Members of the House are not corrupt, and that we are what we call one another—honourable Members—and that we are proud to be.

We have to recognise—and I do—as my hon. Friend the Member for Lady-wood said in language far more eloquent than I can command, that prejudice, misrepresentation and suspicion exist, and that there are people who say, "They are all there for what they can get out of it".

I certainly would not say that as soon as we have a register prejudice will disappear, misrepresentation will cease, suspicion will crumble, and all my constituents will say to me, "You are all selfless people who go into Parliament solely out of a deep sense of vocation" —although I must say that the odd thing is that very many of them say that now and add, "I would not have your job for any money". None the less, I believe, as The Times leader today said, that a register would help to increase public confidence—perhaps to restore it, although I do not believe that any loss of confidence which may exist today is more than transient or temporary.

I turn now specifically to Motion No. 1 and the amendment moved by the right hon. Member for Lowestoft. Under the proposals of the Government, the final decision as to whether a Member's interest is relevant in particular circumstances is the collective decision of the judgment of the House. The amendment would leave the ultimate decision to the judgment of each individual Member. It is extremely difficult to see how any criterion of that kind could be enforceable, and, quite apart from that, the amendment would delete from the Government's proposals the explanation of potential relevance, which is of importance. The motion explains that "relevance" would cover both direct and indirect interests or benefits, whether past, present or expected. It leaves it to the Select Committee, as a result of Motion No. 3, to go into greater detail.

If parliamentary sanctions are to be effective, it is surely essential that the final criterion of "relevance" must be the collective judgment of the House as a whole and not that of the individual Member. It is surely desirable that Members should receive the guidance which is provided for in the motion on the potential range of relevance.

After all, in all other matters within the general ambit of the rules of contempt of the House, it is the House which decides what is a contempt, not the judgment, however sincere, of each Member. Of course, Members will still have to exercise their judgment—that I accept and it goes without saying. [Interruption.] The difference between us—

Mr. Speaker

Order. I wish that hon. Members who want to conduct conversations would have them outside the Chamber.

The Attorney-General

The difference between us is whether at the end it is sufficient to rely entirely on each individual's judgment or whether it is better to rely on the collective wisdom of the House as a whole. The latter is what I recommend to the House and it is for that reason that I advise the House to reject the amendment.

On Motion No. 2 and Motion No. 3, the issue substantially is, do we have both, or do we reject No. 2 and accept the amendment to No. 3? To that issue, I invite the House to direct its consideration. Substantially, the question must be, "Do we have to decide now whether to have a compulsory or voluntary register before we get the report of the Select Committee?"

What is the answer? First, the Select Committee must know and understand its terms of reference. There will be a great difference in its consideration depending on whether it is considering the limits of a compulsory or a voluntary register. It is not certain whether in the latter case it would be sensible to have any defined limits at all.

Secondly, whichever way we deal with this matter, there will be difficulties. How will the Select Committee carry out its task if the amendment is carried? If there is a problem for the House, will not that problem equally be a problem for the Select Committee?

What will the Select Committee do first? Will it decide the principle first or last after it has decided the details?

How will the Select Committee report? Will it report to the House, "We recommend a compulsory register with the following contents, but if the House takes the view that we are wrong, there will be a voluntary register, in which case the contents will be quite different."?

What is the House to do? What resolutions will be put down and in what order? In the end will not the House be faced with precisely the same problem as today—namely, making a decision in principle whether the register should be compulsory or voluntary and leaving it to the Select Committee to work out the details?

The difficulties which I have pointed out are bound to follow if the amendment is adopted are not necessary. My hon. Friend the Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson) rightly pointed out that it is not unknown for the House to decide the question of principle first and the details later; in other words, to have a Second Reading debate, to come to a Second Reading decision, and to refer the details to a Committee.

When the Select Committee reports, its recommendations will be debatable and amendable in the light of the views of every hon. Member on the basis that we decide in principle whether we want a compulsory or a voluntary register.

I recommend the compulsory register. The right hon. Member for Grantham (Mr. Godber) said that it had the advantage that hon. Members would have guidelines which would be the same for all and would be known to all whether they be my right hon. Friend the Member for Vauxhall, the Father of the House, who needs no guidelines, or the newest and youngest Members of the House who I think are likely to welcome them just as they welcome the rules of procedure and those governing contempt of the House, at least so far as those are clear.

Perhaps an even stronger reason for the compulsory register emerged from the excellent speech by the hon. Member for New Forest (Mr. McNair-Wilson) who emphasised the need for speed in clearing the good name of this House, which we all know to be currently under attack

from outside. We shall not clear it by seeming to temporise, to go slow, to draw back a little and leave the decision on principle to a Select Committee by saying, "Let us see what we are committing ourselves to before we commit ourselves ". That is no way to relieve public anxiety swiftly. The lesson of the fate of the previous Select Committee on Members declarations is before the public and we do not want this Select Committee to have a similar fate.

We are seeking to achieve a climate in which openness will be taken for granted so that hon. Members, by that openness which we seek to establish about interests relevant to their work in Parliament, will make their full contribution to that open Government which is an essential part of a modern parliamentary democracy.

Question put. That the amendment be made:

The House divided: Ayes 219, Noes 335.

Division No. 30.] AYES [11.00 p.m.
Aitken, Jonathan Dodds-Parker, Sir Douglas Hawkins, Paul
Alison, Michael (Barkslon Ash) Drayson, Burnaby Hayhoe, Barney
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Durant, Tony Heseltine, Michael
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Dykes, Hugh Higgins, Terence
Atkins, Rt.Hn.Humphrey (Spelthorne) Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir John Hill, James A.
Awdry, Daniel Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Howe, Rt.Hn. Sir Geoffrey(Surrey,E.)
Baker, Kenneth Elliott, Sir William Howell, David (Guildford)
Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lora Emery, Peter Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, North)
Banks, Robert Eyre, Reginald Hutchison, Michael Clark
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Farr, John Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
Bell, Ronald Fell, Anthony James, David
Benyon, W. Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Jenkin, Rt.Hn.P. (R'dgeW'std&W'fd)
Berry, Hon. Anthony Finsberg, Geoffrey Jessel, Toby
Biggs-Davison, John Fisher, Sir Nigel Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)
Blaker, Peter Fletcher, Alexander (Edinburgh, N.) Jones, Arthur (Daventry)
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.) Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Jopling, Michael
Body, Richard Fookes, Miss Janet Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith
Boscawen, Hon. Robert Fowler, Norman (Sutton Coldfleld) Kaberry, Sir Donald
Bowden, Andrew (Brighton, Kemptown) Fox, Marcus Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine
Braine, Sir Bernard Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh (St'fford&Stone) Kimball, Marcus
Bray, Ronald Galbraith, Hn. T. G. D. King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)
Brittan, Leon Gardiner, George (Reigate&Banstead) King, Tom (Bridgwater)
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Gardner, Edward (S. Fylde) Kirk, Peter
Bryan, Sir Pau1 Gibson-Watt, Rt. Hn. David Kltson, Sir Timothy
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Gilmour,Rt.Hn.lan(Ch'sh'&Amsh'm) Knox, David
Buck, Antony Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Lamont, Norman
Bulmer, Esmond Glyn, Dr. Alan Lane, David
Bul er, Adam (Bosworth) Godber, Rt. Hn. Joseph Lawrence, Ivan
Carlisle, Mark Goodhew, Victor Lawson, George (Motherwell&Wishaw)
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Lawson, Nigel (Blaby)
Chalker, Mrs. Lynda Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry) Le Marchant, Spencer
Channon, Paul Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.j Lewis, Kenneth (Rtland & Stmford)
Clark, William (Croydon, S.) Gray, Hamish Lloyd, Ian (Havant & Waterloo)
Clegg, Walter Grieve, Percy Loverldge, John
Cooke, Robert (Bristol, W.) Grist, Ian Luce. Richard
Cope, John Grylls, Michael MacArthur, Ian
Cordle, John Hall, Sir John McCrlndle, R. A.
Corrie, John Hall-Davis, A. G. F. MacGregor, John
Costain, A. P. Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) McLaren, Martin
Crouch, David Hampson, Dr. Keith Macmillan, Rt. Hn. M. (Farnham)
Crowder, F. P. Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Madel, David
Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Harvie Anderson, Rt. Hn. Miss Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
'f'Avlgdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. James Hastings, Stephen Marten, Neil
Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.) Havers, Sir Michael Mather, Carol
Maude, Angus Prior, Rt. Hn. James Stanley, John
Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Steen, Anthony (L'pool, Wavertree)
Mawby, Ray Raison, Timothy Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Mayhew,Patrlck(RoyalT'brldgeWells) Redmond, Robert Stodart, Rt. Hn. A. (Edinburgh, W.)
Meyer, Sir Anthony Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal) Stokes, John
Miller, Hal (B'grove & R'dltch) Renton,Rt. Hn. SlrDavid(H't'gd'ns're) Stradling Thomas, John
Mills, Peter Rentcn, R. T. (Mid-Sussex) Taylor, Edward M. (Gl'gow, C'cart)
Mlscampbell, Norman Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Tebbit, Norman
Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Ridsdale, Julian Temple-Morris, Peter
Moate, Roger Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Monro, Hector Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.-W.) Thomas, Rt. Hn. P. (B'net.H'dn S.)
Moore, J. E. M. (Croydon, C.) Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) Townsend, C. D.
More, Jasper (Ludlow) Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Trotter, Neville
Morgan, Geraint Royle, Sir Anthony Tugendhat, Christopher
Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Sainsbury, Tim van Straubenzee, W. R.
Morrison, Charles (Devizes) St John-Stevas, Norman Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Morrison. Peter (City of Chester) Scott-Hopkins, James Viggers, Peter
Neave, Alrey Shaw, Giles (Pudsey) Wakeham, John
Neubert, Michael Shaw, Michael (Scarborough) Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Nicholls, Sir Harmar Shelton, William (L'mb'th.Streath'm) Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Nott, John Shersby Michael Wall, Patrick
Onslow, Cranley Silvester, Fred Weatherill, Bernard
Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby) Sims, Roger Wells, John
Page, John (Harrow, W.) Sinclair, Sir George Wiggin, Jerry
Parkinson, Cecil (Hertfordshire, S.) Smith, Dudley (W'wIck&L'm'ngton) Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Pattie, Geoffrey Spicer, Jim (Dorset, W.) Worsley, Sir Marcus
Percival, Ian Spicer, Michael (Worcestershire, S.)
Peyton, Rt. Hn. John Sprout, lain TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Price, David (Eastleigh) Stanbrook, Ivor Mr. Philip Goodhart and
Mr. John H. Osborn.
Abse, Leo Craigen, J. M. (G'gow, Maryhill) Freeson, Reginald
Adley, Robert Crawsnaw, Ricnard Freud, Clement
Allaun, Frank Cronin, John Galpern, Sir Myer
Ancram, M. Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Garrett, John (Norwich, S.)
Archer, Peter (V'arley, West) Cryer, G. R. Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)
Armstrong, Ernest Cunningham,G.(lsl'ngt'n,S&F'sb'ry) George, Bruce
Ashley, Jack Cunningham, Dr. John A.(Whiteh'v'n) Gilbert, Dr. John
Ashton, Joe Dalyell, Tan Ginsburg, David
Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.) Davidson, Arthur Golding, John
Atkinson, Norman Davies, Bryan (Enfield, N.) Gourlay, Harry
Bagier. Gordon, A. T. Davies, Denzil (Llanelli) Graham. Ted
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Grant, George (Morpeth)
Barnett, Joel (Heywood & Royton) Deakins, Eric Grant, John (Islington, C.)
Bates, Alf Dean, Joseph (Leeds, W.) Griffiths, Eddie (Sheffield, Brightside)
Baxter, William Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Hamilton, James (Bothwell)
Beith, A. J. de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Hamilton, William (Fife, C.)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Delargy, Hugh Hamling, William
Bennett, Andrew f. (Stockport, N.) Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Hardy, Peter
Bidwell, Sydney Dempsey, James Harper, Joseph
Biffen, John Dodsworth, Geoffrey Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)
Bishop, E. S. Doig, Peter Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith
Blenkinsop, Arthur Dormand, J. D. Hattersley, Roy
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Douglas-Mann, Bruce Hatton, Frank
Booth, Albert Duffy, A. E. P. Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Dunn, James A. Heffer, Eric S.
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Dunnett, Jack Henderson,Douglas (Ab'rd'nsh're.E)
Bradley, Tom Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth Hooley, Frank
Broughton, Sir Alfred Eadle, Alex Hooson, Emlyn
Brown,Bob(NewcastleuponTyne,W.) Edelman, Maurice Horam, John
Brown, Hugh D. (Glasgow, Provan) Edge, Geoff Howell, Denis (B'ham, Small Heath)
Brown, Ronald (H'kney, S.&Sh'ditch) Edwards, Robert (W'hampton, S.E.) Howells, Geraint (Cardigan)
Buchan, Norman Ellis, John (Brigg & Scunthorpe) Huckfield, Leslie
Buchanan,Richard(G gow.Springbm) Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Budgen, Nick English, Michael Hughes, Mark (Durham)
Butler.Mrs.Joyce (H'gey.WoodGreen) Ennals, David Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, North)
Callaghan, Jim (M'dd'ton & Pr'wich) Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Campbell, Ian Evans, loan (Aberdare) Hunt, John
Cant, R. B. Evans, John (Newton) Hunter, Adam
Carmichael, Nell Ewing, Harry (St'ling.F'kirk&G'm'th) Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir A. (L'p'l,EdgeHill)
Carter, Ray Fairgrieve, Russell Irving, Rt. Hn. Sydney (Dartford)
Carter-Jones, Lewis Faulds, Andrew Jackson, Colin
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E. Janner, Greville
Clark, A. K. M. (Plymouth, Sutton) Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Flannery, Martin Jeger, Mrs. Lena
Clemitson, Ivor Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Jenkins, Hugh (W'worth, Putney)
Cocks, Michael Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (B'ham,St'(d)
Cohen, Stanley Foot, Rt. Hn. Michael John, Brynmor
Coleman, Donald Ford, Ben Johnson, James (K'stonuponHull.W)
Colquhoun, Mrs. M. N. Forrester, John Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)
Conlan, Bernard Fowler, Gerry (The Wrekln) Johnston, Russell (Inverness)
Cook, Robert F. (Edinburgh, C.) Fraser, John (Lambeth, Norwood) Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)
Cormack, Patrick
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Morris, Michael (Northampton, S.) Spriggs, Leslie
Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Moyle, Roland Stainton, Keith
Jones, Alec (Rhondda) Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Stallard, A. W.
Judd, Frank Murray, Ronald King Steel, David
Kaufman, Gerald Newens, Stanley (Harlow) Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Kolley, Richard Newton, Tony (Braintree) Stewart, Rt. Hn. M. (H'sth, Fulh'm)
Kerr, Russell Oakes, Gordon Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Kilfedder, James A. Ogden, Eric Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Kilroy-Silk, Robert O'Halloran, Michael Stott, Roger
Kinnock, Neil O'Malley, Brian Strang, Gavin
Lambie, David Orbach, Maurice Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Lamborn, Harry Orme, Stanley Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Lamond, James Ovenden, John Swain, Thomas
Latham, Arthur(CityolW'minsterP'ton) Owen, Dr. David Tapsell, Peter
Latham. Michael (Melton) Padley, Walter Taverne, Dick
Leadbitter, Ted Palmer, Arthur Thomas, D. E. (Merioneth)
Lee, John Pardoe, John Thomas. Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Lester, Jim (Beeston) Park, George (Coventry, N.E.) Thorne, Stan (Preston, S.)
Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Parker, John (Dagenham) Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy
Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Parry, Robert Tlerney, S.
Lewis, Arthur (Newham, N.) Pavitt, Laurie Tinn, James
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred Tomlinson, John
Lipton, Marcus Pendry, Tom Tomney, Frank
Lomas, Kenneth Phipps, Dr. Colin Torney, Tom
Loughlin, Charles Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg Tuck, Raphael
Lcyden, Eddie Prescott, John Tyler, Paul
Lyons, Edward (Bradford, W.) Price, Christopher (Lewisham, W.) Urwin, T. W.
McCartney, Hugh Price, William (Rugby) Varley. Rt. Hn. Eric G.
MacCormack, lain Radice, Giles Waddington, David
McElhone, Frank Rathbone, Tim Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)
Macfariane, Neil Rees, Rt. Hn. Merlyn (Leeds, S.) Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, Ladywood)
MacFarquhar, Roderick Rees-Davies, W. R. Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
McGuire, Michael Reid, George Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Mackenzie, Gregor Richardson, Miss Jo Walker-Smith. Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Maclennan. Robert Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Watkins, David
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock) Watt, Hamish
McNair-Wilson, Michael (Newbury) Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Wellbeloved, James
McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) Robertson, John (Paisley) White, James
McNamara, Kevin Roderick, Caerwyn E. Whitehead, Phillip
Madden, M. 0. F. Rodgers, George (Chorley) Whitlock, William
Mahon, Simon Rooker, J. W. Wigley, Dafydd (Caernarvon)
Mallalieu, J. P. W. Roper, John Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Marks, Kenneth Rose, Paul B. Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Marquand, David Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock) Williams, Alan Lee (Hvrng, Hchurch)
Marshall, Dr. Edmund (Goole) Rowlands, Edward Williams,Rt.Hn. Shirley (H'f'd&St'ge)
Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Sandelson, Neville Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Sedgemore, Bryan Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Mayhew,Christopher (G'wh,W'wch,E) Shaw, Arnold (Redbridge, llford. S.) Wilson, Gordon (Dundee, E.)
Meacher, Michael Sheldon Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne) Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (S'pney&P'plar) Wilson, William (Coventry, S.E.)
Mendelson, John Short, Rt. Hn. E. (N'ctle-u-Tyne) Winstanley, Dr. Michael
Mikardo, Ian Short, Mrs. Renee (W'hamp'n, N.E.) Winterton, Nicholas
Millan, Bruce Silkln, Rt. Hn. John (L'sham,D'ford) Wise, Mrs. Audrey
Miller, Dr. M. S. (E. Kilbride) Silkin,Rt.Hn.S.C.(S'hwark,Dulwlch) Woodall, Alec
Milne, Edward Sillars, James Woof, Robert
Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, lichen) Silverman, Julius Wrlgglesworth, Ian
Molloy, William Skinner, Dennis Young, David (Bolton, E.)
Moonman, Eric Small, William Young, Sir George (Ealing, Acton)
Morris, Alfred (Wythanshawe) Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Snape, Peter Mr. Thomas Cox and
Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Spence John Mr. Ernest G. Perry.

Question accordingly negatived.

It being after Eleven o'clock, Mr. SPEAKER proceeded to put forthwith the Questions necessary to dispose of the motions relating to Members' Interests, pursuant to the Order of the House this day.

Main Question put and agreed to.

Resolved, That, in any debate or proceeding of the House or its committees or transactions or communications which a Member may have with other Members or with Ministers or ser- vants of the Crown, he shall disclose any relevant pecuniary interest or benefit of whatever nature, whether direct or indirect, that he may have had, may have or may be expecting to have.

Motion made, and Question put, That every Member of the House of Commons shall furnish to a Registrar of Members' Interests such particulars of his registrable interests as shall be required, and shall notify to the Registrar any alterations which may occur therein, and the Registrar shall cause these particulars to be entered in a Register of Members' Interests which shall be available for inspection by the public.—[Mr. Edward Short.]

The House divided: Ayes 363, Noes 168.

Division No. 31.] AYES [11.14 p.m.
Abse, Leo Duffy, A. E. P. Janner, Greville
Adley, Robert Dunn, James A. Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Allaun, Frank Dunnett, Jack Jeger, Mrs. Lena
Ancram, M. Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth Jenkins, Hugh (W'worth, Putney)
Archer, Peter (Warley, West) Dykes, Hugh Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (B'ham,St'fd)
Armstrong, Ernest Eadie, Alex John, Brynmor
Ashley, Jack Edelman, Maurice Johnson,James(K'ston upon Hull,W)
Ashton, Joe Edge, Geoff Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.) Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)
Atkinson, Norman Edwards, Robert (W'hampton, S.E.) Johnston, Russell (Inverness)
Awdry, Daniel Ellis, John (Brigg & Scunthorpe) Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)
Bagier, Gordon, A. T. Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) English, Michael Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)
Barnett, Joel (Heywood & Royton) Ennals, David Jones, Alec (Rhondda)
Bates, Alf Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) Judd, Frank
Baxter, William Evans, loan (Aberdare) Kaufman, Gerald
Beith, A. J. Evans, John (Newton) Kelley, Richard
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Ewing, Harry (St'ling,F'kirk&G'm'th) Kerr, Russell
Bennett, Andrew F. (Stockport, N.) Fairgrieve, R. Kilfedder, James A.
Bidwell, Sydney Farr, John Kilroy-Silk, Robert
Biffen, John Faulds, Andrew Kinnock, Neil
Biggs-Davison, John Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E Kirk, Peter
Bishop, E. S. Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Knox, David
Blenkinsop, Arthur Flannery, Martin Lambie, David
Boardman, H. (Leign) Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Lamborn, Harry
Booth, Albert Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Lamond, James
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Foot, Rt. Hn. Michael Lamont, Norman
Bowden,Andrew(BrlghtonKemptown) Ford, Ben Latham, Arthur(CityofW'minsterP'ton)
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Forrester, John Latham, Michael (Melton)
Bradley, Tom Fowler, Gerry (The Wrekin) Lawrence,Ivan
Braine, Sir Bernard Fowler, Norman (Sutton Coldfield) Leadbitter, Ted
Brown,Bob(NewcastleuponTyne.W.) Fraser, John (Lambeth, Norwood) Lee,John
Brown, Hugh D. (Glasgow, Provan) Freeson, Reginald Lester, Jim (Beeston)
Buchan, Norman Freud, Clement Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)
Buchanan,Richard(G'gow,Springbrn) Galpern, Sir Myer Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold
Budgen, Nick Garrett, John (Norwich, S.) Lewis, Arthur (Newham, N.)
Butler,adam(Bosworth) Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Callaghan,Jim(M"dd"ton & Pr"wich) George, Bruce Lipton, Marcus
Campbell, Ian Gilbert, Dr. John Lomas, Kenneth
Cant, R. B. Ginsburg, David Loughlin, Charles
Carmichael, Neil Golding, John Loyden, Eddie
Carter, Ray Gourlay, Harry Lyons, Edward (Bradford, W.)
Carter-Jones, Lewis Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry) McCartney, Hugh
Castle,Rt.Hin.Barbara Graham, Ted MacCormack, lain
Clark,A.K.M(Plymouth,sutton) Grant, George (Morpeth) McElhone, Frank
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Grant, John (Islington, C.) Macfarlane, Neil
Clemitson, Ivor Griffiths, Eddie (Sheffield, Brightside) MacFarquhar, Roderick
Cocks, Michael Grist, Ian McGuire, Michael
Cohen, Stanley Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Mackenzie, Gregor
Coleman, Donald Hamilton, William (Fife, C.) Maclennan, Robert
Colquhoun, Mrs. M. N. Hamling, William McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)
Concannon, J. D. Hampson, Dr. Keith McNair-Wilson, Michael (Newbury)
Conlan, Bernard Hardy, Peter McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)
Cook, Robert F. (Edinburgh, C.) Harper, Joseph McNamara. Kevin
Ciaigen, J. M. (G'gow, Maryhill) Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Madden, M. 0. F.
Crawshaw. Richard Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Mahon, Simon
Cronin, John Hattersley, Roy Mallalleu, J. P. W.
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Hatton, Frank Marks, Kenneth
Cunningam,g.(lsl'ngt'n,s&f'sb'ry) Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Marquand, David
Cunningham,Dr.JohnA.(Whiteh'v'n) Heffer, Eric S. Marshall, Dr. Edmund (Goole)
Dalyell, Tam Henderson,Barry (Dunbartonshire,E.) Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Davidson, Arthur Henderson,Douglas (Ab'rd'nsh're,E) Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy
Davies, Bryan (Enfield, N.) Hill, James A. Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Davies, Denzil (Llanelli) Hooley, Frank Mayhew,Christopher(G'wh,W'wch,E)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Hooson, Emlyn Meacher, Michael
Deakins, Eric Horam, John Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert
Dean, Joseph (Leeds, W.) Howell, Denis (B'ham, Small Heath) Mendelson, John
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Meyer, Sir Anthony
Delargy, Hugh Huckfield, Leslie Mikardo, Ian
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Millan, Bruce
Dempsey, James Hughes, Mark (Durham) Miller, Dr. M. S. (E. Kilbride)
Dodsworth, Geoffrey Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, North) Mills, Peter
Doig, Peter Hughes, Roy (Newport) Milne, Edward
Dormand, J. D. Hunt, John Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Hunter, Adam Molloy, William
Drayson, Burnaby Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir A. (L'p'I.EdgeHill) Moonman, Eric
Irving. Rt. Hn. Sydney (Dartford) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Jackson, Colin Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Roper, John Torney, Tom
Morris, Michael (Northampton, S.) Rose, Paul B. Townsend, C. D.
Moyle, Roland Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock) Tugendhat, Christopher
Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Rowlands, Edward Tyler, Paul
Murray, Ronald King Sandelson, Neville Urwln, T. W.
Newens, Stanley (Harlow) Sedgemore, Bryan van Straubenzee, W. R.
newton. Tony (Braintree) Shaw, Arnold (Redbridge, llford, S.) Varley, Rt. Hn. Eric G.
Oakes. Gordon Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne) Waddington, David
Ogden, Eric Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (S'pney&P'plar) Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)
O'Halloran, Michael Short, Rt. Hn. E. (N'ctle-u-Tyne) Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, Ladywood)
O'Malley, Brian Short, Mrs. Renee (W'hamp'n, N.E.) Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Orbach, Maurice Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (L'sham.D'ford) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Orme, Stanley Silkin,Rt.Hn.S.C.(S'hwark,Dulwlch) Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Ovenden, John Sillars, James Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Owen, Dr. David Silverman, Julius Wall, Patrick
Padley, Walter Skinner, Dennis Watkins, David
Palmer, Arthur Small. William Wart, Hamish
Pardoe, John Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.) Wellbeloved, James
Park. George (Coventry, N.E.) Snape, Peter White, James
Parker, John (Dagenham) Spence, John Whitehead, Phillip
Parry, Robert Splcer, Jim (Dorset, W.) Whitlock, William
Pattie, Geoffrey Spriggs, Leslie Wigley, Dafydd (Caernarvon)
Pavitt, Laurie Stainton, Keith Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred Stallard, A. W. Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Pendry, Tom Steel, David Williams, Alan Lee (Hvrng, Hchurch)
Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg Stewart, Donald (Western Isles) Williams,Rt.Hn. Shirley(H'f'd&St'ge)
Prescott, John Stewart, Rt. Hn. M. (H'sth, Fulh'm) Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Price, Christopher (Lewisham, W.) Stoddart, David (Swindon) Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Price, William (Rugby) Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John Wilson, Gordon (Dundee, E.)
Radice, Giles Stott, Roger Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Raison, Timothy Strang, Gavin Wilson, William (Coventry, S.E.)
Rathbone, Tim Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley Winstanley, Dr. Michael
Rees, Rt. Hn. Merlyn (Leeds, S.) Swain, Thomas Winterton, Nicholas
Reid, George Tapsell, Peter Wise, Mrs. Audrey
Richardson, Miss Jo Taverne, Dick Woodall, Alec
Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey Taylor, Edward M. (Gl'gow, C'cart) Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Thomas, D. E. (Merioneth) Woof, Robert
Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery) Wrigglesworth, Ian
Roberts Wyn (Conway) Thomas, Rt. Hn. P. (B'net,H'dn S.) Young, David (Bolton, E.)
Robertson, John (Paisley) Thome, Stan (Preston, S.) Young, Sir George (Ealing, Acton)
Roderick, Caerwyn E. Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Rodgers, George (Chorley) Tierney, Sydney Mr. Thomas Cox and
Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) Tinn, James Mr. Ernest G. Perry.
Rooker, J. W. Tomlinson, John Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward
Aitken, Jonathan Tomney, Frank Heseltine, Michael
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Higgins, Terence
Allason, James (Heme) Hempstead) Durant, Tony Howell, David (Guildford)
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir John Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, North)
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Elliott, Sir William Hutchison, Michael Clark
Atkins, Rt.Hn. Humphrey (Spelthorne) Emery, Peter Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
Baker, Kenneth Eyre, Reginald James, David
Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord Fell, Anthony Jessel, Toby
Banks, Robert Finsberg, Geoffrey Jones, Arthur (Daventry)
Bell, Ronald Fisher, Sir Nigel Jopling, Michael
Benyon, W. Fletcher, Alexander (Edinburgh, N.) Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith
Berry, Hon. Anthony Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Kaberry, Sir Donald
Blaker, Pete.' Fookes, Miss Janet Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.) Fox, Marcus Kimball, Marcus
Body, Richard Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh (St'fford&Stone) King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)
Boscawen, Hon. Robert Galbraith, Hn. T. G. D. King, Tom (Bridgwater)
Bray, Ronald Gardiner, George (Reigate&Banstead) Kitson, Sir Timothy
Brittan, Leon Gardner, Edward (S. Fylde) Lawson,George (Motherwell&SWishaw)
Bruce-Gardyne, j. Gibson-Watt, Rt. Hn. David Lawson, Nigel (Blaby)
Bryan, Sir Paul Gilmour,Rt.Hn.Ian (Ch'sh'&Amsh'm) Le Marchant, Spencer
Buchanan-Smith, Alio Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Lewis, Kenneth (Rtland & Stmford)
Buck, Antony Glyn, Dr. Alan Lloyd, Ian (Havant & Waterloo)
Chalker, Mrs. Lynda Goodhew, Victor Loveridge, John
Channon, paul Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Luce, Richard
Clark, William (Croydon, S.) Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Lyon, Alexander W. (York)
Clegg, Walter Gray, Hamish MacArthur, Ian
Cooke, Robert (Bristol, W.) Grieve, Percy MacGregor, John
Cope, John Grylls, Michael McLaren, Martin
Cordle, John Hall, Sir John Macmillan, Rt. Hn. M. (Farnham)
Corrie, John Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Marten, Nell
Crouch, David Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Mather, Carol
Crowder, F. P. Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Maude, Angus
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. James Harvie Anderson, Rt. Hn. Miss Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald
Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.) Hastings, Stephen Mayhew, Patrick (RoyalT'bridgeWells)
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Havers, Sir Michael Miller, Hal (B'grove & R'dltch)
Dodds-Parker, Sir Douglas Hawkins, Paul
Hayhoe, Barney
Miscampbell, Norman Prior, Rt. Hn. James Sproat, lain
Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Stanbrook, Ivor
Moate, Roger Redmond, Robert Stanley, John
Monro, Hector Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal) Steen, Anthony (L'pool, Waveru-ee)
More, Jasper (Ludlow) Rees-Davies, W. R. Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Morgan, Geraint Renton.Rt. Hn. SirDavid(H't'gd'ns're) Stodart, Rt. Hn. A. (Edinburgh, W.)
Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Stradling Thomas, J.
Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Rifkind, Malcolm Tebbit, Norman
Morrison, Peter (City of Chester) Roberts. Michael (Cardiff, N.-W.) Temple-Morris, Peter
Neave, Airey Royle, Sir Anthony Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Neubert, Michael Sainsbury, Tim Trotter, Neville
Nicholls, Sir Harmar St. John-Stevas, Norman Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Normanton, Tom Scott-Hopkins, James Viggers, Peter
Nott, John Shaw, Michael (Scarborough) Wakeham, John
Onslow, Cranley shollon, William (L'mb'th.Streath'm) Weatherill, Bernard
Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby) Shersby, Michael Wells, John
Page, John (Harrow, W.) Silvester, Fred Wiggin, Jerry
Parkinson, Cecil (Hertfordshire, S.) Sims, Roger Worsley, Sir Marcus
Percival, Ian Sinclair, Sir George TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Peyton, Rt. Hn. John Smitli, Dudley (W'wick&L'm'ngton) Mr. Phillip Goodhart and
Price, David (Eastleigh) Spicer, Michael (Worcestershire, S.) Mr. John H. Osborn.

Question accordingly agreed to

Resolved, That a Select Committee be appointed to consider the arrangements to be made pursuant to the Resolutions of the House this day relative to the declaration of Members' interests and the registration thereof, and, in particular:

  1. (a) what classes of pecuniary interest or other benefit are to be disclosed;
  2. (b) how the register should be compiled and maintained and what arrangements should be made for public access thereto;
  3. (c) how the resolutions relating to declaration and registration should be enforced;
  4. (d) what classes of person (if any) other than Members ought to be required to register;
and to make recommendations upon these and any other matters which are relevant to the implementation of the said Resolutions. That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers and records; to sit notwithstanding any adjournment of the House; to report from time to time; and to report from time to time the Minutes of the Evidence taken before them. That the Committee do consist of Fourteen Members. That Five be the Quorum of the Committee. That the Committee shall report to the House, within the shortest reasonable period, their recommendations, especially with regard to paragraphs (a), (b) and (c).—[Mr. Edward Short.]